Parliaments losing public trust worldwide but...
A report released on Monday says despite declining public trust in parliaments around the world, they still have a vital role to play in the global quest for democracy.
This is the conclusion of a joint report launched by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The IPU has been in existence since 1889.
The first global parliamentary report, which was received by WADR, says "parliaments today are facing greater public scrutiny and pressure than ever before, with fundamental questions on their ability to hold governments to account."
Titled, “The Changing Nature of Parliamentary Representation,” the IPU-UNDP report argues that to address the current low-level of public trust in parliaments, they must engage with citizens, stay closely attuned to their needs and make every effort to meet them.
“It is clear that casting a ballot every few years is no longer enough for an electorate. It wants more democratic engagement between it and the political institution it elects,” says Abdelwahad Radi, President of the IPU.
“Most parliaments have recognized the need to change the way the public sees it, its role and its work. And they are doing something about it,” Radi said.
According to the report, “various opinion polls showing waning support for parliaments in both established and newer democracies. Trust levels in places such as Lithuania and USA are just below 10 percent with similar trends evident in the Arab world, East Asia and the Pacific. The only region to buck the downward trend, according to the report, is Sub-Saharan Africa, where a comparatively high level of trust is recorded at 56 per cent across the continent.”
The release of the first global parliamentary report coincides with the week-long 126th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) meeting, which opened in the Ugandan capital, Kampala over the weekend.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, President Yoweri Museveni appealed to delegates ensure that the quest for democracy and good governance are linked with economic and social transformation issues as failure to blend them would lead to the collapse of the process.
The Ugandan President warned that democracy per se will not thrive and survive, if it is not tailored to solving people’s needs and address particular stimulus factors that can cause economic growth, development and social transformation, according to an Africa Press Agency (APA) report from Kampala.